Arsenal took one step closer to Champions League qualification with a 2-0 victory over West Ham at Meadow Park on Wednesday evening thanks to goals from Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little. Joe Montemurro spoke to the press post match, the first four questions are from Arseblog News, the others are from other journalists.
On starting with Caitlin Foord upfront and Vivianne Miedema as a number 10…
West Ham play with a back five and their three centre halves pretty much stay so what we tried to do was to play more centrally and draw out their wing-backs, so Viv could come short, pick the ball up and change the point of attack. Their wing-backs pushed onto our full-backs but that gave space for our wingers to run in behind. It was a tactical decision but it was also because they man mark from our goal kick build up so it gave us the opportunity to be direct and go for the ball forwards. It was just about having options to bypass their press but also to change the point of our attacks.
On Beth Mead and Caitlin Foord swapping positions for Arsenal’s goal kicks in the second half…
I just wanted one of them to come shorter, between the lines of the West Ham press so we could go in and then beyond. It was their ability to say “ok, I’ll come out to the wing now” while the other one went underneath, so yeah (it was also about beating the West Ham press).
On Jill Roord coming on and playing as a striker ahead of Miedema…
Viv was having fun! She scored in the first half in the 10 so I kept her going! No, we just thought it was because we thought Jill could keep their three central defenders pinned back and allow more room for Viv to work underneath and have the ball and we think it worked well.
A @VivianneMiedema rocket! 🚀
No stopping the @ArsenalWFC forward’s strike!#BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/abJorhI1E4
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) April 28, 2021
On the game being very similar to the Brighton match…
We expected the game to get quite long and for them to be quite direct and we knew there would be a lot of second balls and second phase of play situations. They’re fighting for points to stay up so we fully expected it to get untidy. From the football perspective i think we were better today than we were on Sunday. We had to adapt and deal with some long and second ball situations but it’s all part of adapting to the challenges you get in a season.
On keeping eight clean sheets in a row now…
It’s pleasing because of the manner in which we are doing it, we’re not giving away a lot of opportunities. I can only remember one header in the second half where we got caught at the back post which was their best chance. Going back three, four, five games now I can’t really remember teams opening us up. The defence get a lot of credit, but the work rate and balance of our midfield and the positioning of our forwards is very important too and I’m very proud of the collective to be able to achieve this.
On Vivianne Miedema’s 18th WSL goal of the season…
Her football speaks for itself, I’ve said it from day one that she gets her rewards in front of goal but she does the teamwork too. When we needed her to defend she was backing off and finding the right positioning and she helped us to win the ball in transition which we worked on in the week and her selfless nature is so important. That’s what I love about working with her.
On needing one more win to qualify for the Champions League…
Mathematically one win from the last two is enough but we want to keep going in the manner we’ve been going in, playing our football and adapting to the situations and being clinical. We’re in control of our destiny and it’s purely up to us.
On the game getting messy in the wet conditions…
When you play teams that are long the game will get messy because your passing distances become long and you have to be more accurate and revise in terms of finding the spaces. West Ham made us play in tight confined areas but we found the solutions and the spaces and I think with more care in front of goal in both halves we could have scored more.
Captain @kimlittle1990! 🤩
A well worked move ends in @ArsenalWFC doubling their lead!#BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/BDRt0w5h7n
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) April 28, 2021
Doesn’t matter if she’s paying as a 9 or a 10, odds are that Viv will find the net. We are lucky to have her in our team.
Little really got us out of jail with the composed performance all around, and especially with that timely goal.
I think we need to look at getting another direct winger if we arent going to be able to play evans and mccabe in attack. Mead was brilliant for us in the past, but showing more and more her limitations this campaign.
Beth can be a difficult player to appreciate but her creative metrics are up there with the best in the league. She adds something different I think because she thrives in unstructured play as a counterpoint to our team of technical no.10 types. She is very good at winning the ball back high up the pitch and creating transitions. It’s not always pleasing to the eye but it is very effective. That said, never against adding more quality to the squad!
Having options always helps! Though i am not too sure who i would go for.
To be honest, i may prefer McCabe at LB in a game we expect to dominate. Another effective attacking threat.
We are in a tricky situation at the moment. I agree that Katie and Lisa should be used as wingers and our deficiency is really in the full back positions. Of course, we brought in Steph to allow Katie to move up the pitch only for her to be injured all season. We have Noelle but with no proper back up. I like Leonie going forward but she still seems a bit light defensively as evidenced by the fact that Joe rarely picks her even when perfectly fit. The real problem has been that Joe is not one for positional… Read more »
Leonie used to be deployed as a winger in her younger days. Similar to McCabe in being put at RB for another attacking threat. I was really excited about her joining, but sadly with the injuried it didnt work out. Same as with Kemme and Hegering (who is solid for Bayern now)
I think fans would be more accommodating of Beth’s poor decision making if she was 19 and had just come into the first team. She really needs to simplify her game – I know her stats aren’t terrible but going by the eye test she can’t regularly whip in good crosses like Katie, finish like Viv or hold up the ball like Caitlin. Maybe the new manager coming in will help with her game, fingers crossed.
Right, and now I don’t want to hear anyone (and that includes herself!) calling Miedema ‘lazy’ again. She was everywhere yesterday – what a player.
Indeed she was surprisingly. I’d like to see her take a few more speculative shots like the one she scored from rather than trying to set up the perfect opportunity and allowing the defence to block. She would probably add another 5 to 10 goals to her tally in a season!:)
Should probably have scored 6 from the highlights reel. However kudos for the chance creation, and 2 will do!
Another great performance from Kim: last-ditch defender and goal scorer. No disrespect to Steph Houghton, but I’d like to see her as captain of the GB team in Tokyo.
A little cameo I saw which encapsulates what I like about women’s football. I think that England has some very promising young defenders and at the end of the match it was really nice to see Grace Fisk and Anna Patten hugging and chatting away. (Grace had a really good game, and why not appreciate what your opponents do too?)
I tell you what, these ladies are absolutely smashing in. Enjoying their games a lot more than the mens side at the moment. 2-0 looked flattering to WH.
The good thing is 2 more games to play I believe, only need 3 more points and we are back in the WCL!
Viv was frankly a revelation in terms of her workrate, which combined with her inherent skill sets made an impressive contribution – an excellent tactic by Joe. And I had thought she needed a rest! I disagree with the adverse comments on Beth as she can be explosive at any time plus can deliver dynamic crosses & shots which no other player is capable of. I truly hope she makes the minuscule Olympic squad. I’ve always liked Jill Roord, who is a deceptively skilful contributor to the cause, perhaps a forward version of Walti 🙂 She’ll be even better next… Read more »